Why do Haitian Politicians love power so much?

We Haitians do not agree on many things; however, this is something many Haitians will agree on. Haitian Politicians are in love with power. For those who may not agree with me, you don't have to go far to see to what extent our politicians would go to be in a position of power. Just take a look at any election in Haiti, you will see the number of people wanting to occupy those positions of power. During a typical presidential election in Haiti, the number of candidates can reach anywhere from 40 to 50. During a Cabinet formation or reshuffling, some people you would not expect give up their dignity, prestige or affiliations they spent years building in a matter of second just to become the next Minister or Secretary.


As defined, power is the ability to influence or control the behavior of people. Power by itself can be seen as something evil or unjust, however the actual exercise of power is acceptable to humans as social beings.

When you refer to power as authority, it is often perceived as legitimate. Some calls it influence; however this is just the means by which power is used.

Again the question remains for our Haitian Politicians: why do so many of them want to be in a position of power? Do they feel that they will be able to serve their fellow countrymen better or is it something to do with self interest?

In Haiti, power gives all the privileges one can possibly think of and more. Once you have power in Haiti, you have all the privileges. Also since Haiti has been plagged for a long time by poverty, unemployment and corruption, grabbing power offers an opportunity to make it big.

History of power grabbing in Haiti:
In the old days, Dictators such as Francois Duvalier and Jean-Claude Duvalier would proclam themselves President for life. Their supporters and those who were privileged by the system came to have a false sense of security. They came to accept that this is the way things should be, including all the injustices, abuses and corruptions that were part of it. Not thinking that this can end one day, with the exile of Jean Claude Duvalier, these people were having all kind of issues adjusting to the new reality. Many saw their wealth evaporated. Beside the lost of their economic power, they also lost their authority and influences in the society; and this was in some cases for them even harder to accept.

The country has changed. A wind of democracy went over Haiti. However, little changes have been made in the Haitian mentality, specially our politicians. Their love for power has remained as strong as ever. With new democratic system, imposing term limit on the presidency, ( president for two terms only but not consecutively), the new leaders have been preoccupied on finding ways to remain in power for as long as they possibly could.

The calculation for those elected under our new democratic system has become to remain in power for at least 20 years, using substitute and all kind of creative ways. They figure out if they can remain president for 5 years, then hand the presidency over to a close fiend for another 5 years, that will allow them to run again later for another 5 years and then give it back to another close friend for the next 5 years.

This seems to be easier to say than to be done however. Both Jean Bertrand Aristide and Rene Preval have tried. Jean Bertrand Aristide managed to hand over the presidency to Rene Preval on February 7, 1996 and Rene Preval returned the favor to Aristide February 7, 2001. During the second term of President Rene Preval, he had plan to hand over the government to his good friend Jude Célestin; however, it did not turn out as expected. Instead, to the surprise of many, we all ended up with Michel Martelly.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Now Michel Martelly thinks he can succeed by hand picking his successor. That will likely fill in the time for him to run after 5 years. Will Laurent Lamothe fill this void or does he have someone else in mind. We will see if history will repeat itself.

Jimi Hendrix said "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."?

Written by:
Roland Berthold

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Read more: rene preval, jude celestin, Jean Bertrand Aristide, Laurent Lamothe, Power, Newsletter Articles, Politics

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All Comments (2)

Raymond Lafontant says...

All politicians all over the world "love" powers and influences but they are limited by the organization of their society.

In Haiti, it is still the opposite, society is to feeble accompanying with high precarity of the middle

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Yvon Fleurival says...

Very good

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